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Food intolerance testing – is it worth it?


Food intolerances are rife. They can be responsible for many symptoms from aches and pains, skin problems to weight gain. They can sometimes take a great deal of detective work to pin down but is food intolerance testing worth the cost?

I’ve always recommended to my clients that they save their money and test for food intolerances the hard (but more reliable) way. Through elimination of common allergens, one by one, followed by a challenge of each food. I was convinced that food intolerance tests were too expensive and open to false negative results. I still think both of these are true, but I now believe that for some people it is worth spending the money.

So why have I changed my mind? Firstly, it’s not so easy to avoid the major allergens, some people would like to know that it’s worth the effort to remove dairy/gluten/egg/soy from their diet before taking on such a big challenge. In this instance identifying the right foods quickly will help you to see results and remain motivated.

Secondly, some people are able to avoid the common allergens but niggling symptoms remain. Sometimes, the intolerance is more innocuous and is difficult to identify. Recently, a client who had seen great gains with gluten and dairy free living still had some skin, weight and fatigue issues. She convinced me to order her a food intolerance test and the results revealed problems with cashews, hazelnuts, egg yolks and yeast. On removing these offending foods from the diet her skin was glowing – within days, she dropped 4 kilos and is feeling better than ever.

Positive results on the food intolerance test often tell me that a client’s gut is permeable. This is not uncommon as it is a major contributory factor to many illnesses. Often we get straight to work on re-establishing proper gut function, in doing this I know that intolerances will most likely diminish over time. However, running a food intolerance test and identifying those key problem foods (other than the obvious ones) can give a huge improvement in symptoms in the short term whilst the longer term gut work is undertaken.

Author: Sarah Hanratty

Sarah is a specialist practitioner at the Brain Food Clinic. She has a degree in Nutritional Medicine and is a certified Gut and Psychology Syndrome Practitioner. Sarah helps people to overcome physical and mental health issues using bespoke nutritional protocols.

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